If you’re not an introvert, someone special to you is. My reference for the care and feeding of introverts is all from my own experience and my relationship with my husband — more than an extrovert, he’s an entertainer.
If you’re not sure if you or people of significance are introverted, you can take the Myers Briggs test and it will give you a starting point. I like that it also gives you a spectrum of 100% on either side to the balance in the middle.
I score 100% introvert – about as introverted as we get. If you’ve met me in a social situation of any sort, you might find that surprising. But that’s because I’ve figured out a few things a long the way.
One thing introverts do well is study other people’s behaviors. Basically my social self is a performance I’ve crafted over the course of my life. For the last 10 years or so, I’ve studied under the best – my husband. So if you’re an introvert feeling wall-flowerish or wondering if your host has a cat… just find the most smiling, bubbly, friendly person at the party. While you circle the shin dig and get a drink and snack, watch them and then muster up the courage to just say HI and one line to them. “Hi, I’m Christina.” or “Hi, I love your shoes.” That’s it. They’ll take it from there.
The other thing to know about these social shindigs is that they are not just exhausting, but emotionally taxing. If you’re an introvert having a good enough time, pay attention to when it stops being fun and leave. If you’re an extrovert accompanied by an introvert who hints that it’s time to, IT’S TIME TO GO. It’s not time to start saying good bye everyone. It’s not time for one more drink or one more song. Leave now or you may be in store for trouble.
And please please, feel free to drive home in silence. No radio necessary, no asking questions about how the shindig was. The introvert is likely out of words. If the extrovert needs to talk, that’s fine. But don’t ask us questions. We need to think and feel and stare out the window. When we’re ready to talk, we will.
I hope this helps if you’re an introvert but crave connection, or if you’re an extrovert and want to spend time with your introverted person. Any questions?
Stay tuned for more installments of The Care of Feeding of Introverts to come!